Wiam I. Hussein, MD; Ralph Green, MD; Donald W. Jacobsen, PhD; Charles Faiman, MD
Presented in part at the Seventh Annual Meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Orlando, Florida, April 1998, and the Second International Conference on Homocysteine Metabolism, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, April 1998.
Acknowledgments: The authors thank S.S. Reddy, MD, for recruiting patients and for support for the study; Jacob Selhub, PhD, Tufts University, for kindly doing the vitamin B6 assays; and Jeff Hammel for statistical analysis and advice.
Grant Support: By a research grant (Research Program Council #5669) from The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and grant HL52234 from the National Institutes of Health (Dr. Jacobsen).
Requests for Reprints: Charles Faiman, MD, Department of Endocrinology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Desk A30, Cleveland, OH 44195; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Hussein: Saad Medical Center, PO Box 1991, Alkhobar, 31952, Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Green: Department of Pathology, University of California, Davis, Medical Center, 4400 V Street, Sacramento, CA 95817.
Dr. Jacobsen: Department of Cell Biology, Lerner Research Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, NC10, Cleveland, OH 44195.
Dr. Faiman: Department of Endocrinology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Desk A30, Cleveland, OH 44195.
Hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for coronary, peripheral, and cerebrovascular disease. Elevated plasma homocysteine levels were described in a preliminary report on primary hypothyroidism.
To determine whether restoration of euthyroidism by l-thyroxine replacement therapy would reduce or normalize plasma homocysteine levels.
Prospective cohort study.
Outpatient endocrinology department of a tertiary center.
14 patients (10 women and 4 men; 25 to 77 years of age): 4 with newly diagnosed chronic (Hashimoto) hypothyroidism and 10 who had been rendered acutely hypothyroid (thyroid-stimulating hormone level > 25 mU/L) by total thyroidectomy for thyroid carcinoma.
Total plasma homocysteine levels were measured at baseline and 3 to 9 months later, after euthyroidism had been attained by l-thyroxine replacement therapy.
Median baseline plasma homocysteine levels in both sexes (women, 11.65 µmol/L [range, 7.2 to 26.5 µmol/L]; men, 15.1 µmol/L [range, 14.1 to 16.3 µmol/L]) were higher (P = 0.002) than those in healthy female (n = 35) and male (n = 36) volunteers (women, 7.52 µmol/L [range, 4.3 to 14.0 µmol/L]; men, 8.72 µmol/L [range, 5.94 to 14.98 µmol/L]). Eight patients (57%) had baseline plasma homocysteine levels that exceeded the upper limit of sex-specific reference ranges. Upon attainment of euthyroidism, all patients had a diminution in plasma homocysteine levels. The median overall change of −5.5 µmol/L (range, −15.4 to −1.8 µmol/L) corresponds to a difference of −44% (range, −58% to −13%) (P < 0.001). Homocysteine levels returned to normal in 7 of the 8 patients with elevated pretreatment values.
Hypothyroidism may be a treatable cause of hyperhomocysteinemia, and elevated plasma homocysteine levels may be an independent risk factor for the accelerated atherosclerosis seen in primary hypothyroidism.
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Hussein WI, Green R, Jacobsen DW, Faiman C. Normalization of Hyperhomocysteinemia with l-thyroxine in Hypothyroidism. Ann Intern Med. 1999;131:348–351. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-131-5-199909070-00005
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1999;131(5):348-351.
Endocrine and Metabolism, Thyroid Disorders.
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